It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the Trudeau Media Party. First, they watched in horror as their Elizabeth May pet project – known to its friends as the Green Party – collapsed in ignominy. Despite best attempts to escalate a Facebook page into a force worthy of inclusion in leaders’ debates, the party president says the Greenies are a dead parrot.
Then, after a carefully curated campaign to portray Pierre Poilievre as the Nosferatu of the National Capital, the Ottawa MP wiped out his rivals to win the leadership of the Conservative party of Canada. Despite dire warnings of a Northern Trump, Poilievre won a commanding 68 per cent of the votes (330 out of 338 of the districts), sweeping every constituency but the Press Club on Parliament Hill.
To make it worse, when Poilievre ascended the podium to accept the leadership, he delivered a speech he’d found in Erin O’Toole’s desk drawer. Instead of “shutter the CBC” and “fire the governor of the Bank of Canada,” it was all “people can’t afford to live these days” and “Quebec can do whatever the hell it wants.” Okay, he did put in a line about people wanting a government that could run a passport office. But that was about all the snark.
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The CBC, CTV and Global panels, having prepared a Spanish Inquisition for Poilievre, were gobsmacked. “He seemed like a nice guy” was the stunned tone of the punditry. “Hope nobody noticed we blew this one” was another take.
Perhaps their only consolation is that Siri still cannot recognize Poilievre’s name when prompted. So they still have that going for them.
But it’s a phony peace. Already the Trump extremist comparisons are being levelled: “You don’t have to squint too hard to see the parallels between former U.S. President Donald Trump and newly crowned Conservative Party of Canada Leader Pierre Poilievre,” wrote one columnist.
The Establishment knows why Poilievre got such a plurality and why young people in polling favour the Conservatives over the Fresh Prince of Rideau. The support for the nerdish guy reflects a population that sees the failure of institutions like Healthcare, the Bank of Canada and, yes, the passport office and has decided we have a crisis in management.
And the Family Compact can’t have that. Too many people are in on the hustle. Too many cottages in the Outaouais, too many sinecures in the Senate, too many trust funds are riding on keeping a guy like Poilievre away from the free-lunch codes. That’s why, within days, Global TV reporter David Akin was disrupting Poilievre’s speech and the prime minister was pitching storylines for distribution to the purchased media.
While making a non-person in a One Media state like Canada should be easy, Trudeau is still desperately trying to close the information loop by placing Poilievre and the Conservatives beyond the pale and to make Poilievre a friend to the far right and semi-fascists.
With as many as three years left till Trudeau must call an election – Jagmeet Singh, god willing – there is ample time to complete the de-personing of Poilievre and anyone who supports him. The Alberta Sovereignty cause will accelerate the movement to paint opponents as wild-eyed monsters unfit for civilized conversation.
If needs be, Trudeau can always resurrect the Emergency Measures Act to round up political foes. Having debased the standard his father established in 1970, he can easily paint Western radicals and Poilievre Trumpists as a threat to the state.
If you laugh at the notion of rounding up political enemies, you haven’t been paying attention to Joe Biden’s putsch in the U.S. Aided by the Rob Reiners and Stephen Colberts, he has closed his information loop for supporters. It is now possible to live within the bosom of Biden Land and consider any unbelievers to be “semi-fascist” enemies of the state. And have the media endorse it wholeheartedly.
In the weeks since raiding the bedrooms of Donald and Melania Trump in search of the nuclear codes, Biden’s FBI is now paying friendly visits on anyone who’s expressed support for the former president, taking their cell phones and warning them of future recriminations. Not people involved in the 06/01 riot in Congress, mind you. No, people who have been ID’d online as having unpalatable opinions.
The concept of Biden using the FBI and Department of Justice to have his predecessor – and possible 2024 challenger – indicted before the November midterms is a distinct possibility. To those inside the information loop who’ve seen the failures of Russiagate, two impeachments, tax investigations and more all come up short, this is not an infringement of the First Amendment; it’s proof they root for the good guys.
Trudeau is banking on the same sentiment as he looks to make Poilievre into the Ceaucescu of the Capital.
Bruce Dowbiggin is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the eighth best professional hockey book by bookauthority.org. His 2004 book Money Players was voted seventh best.
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